Tips to Communicate with Parents at Your Youth Ministry Parent Meeting
Oh boy, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and adjusting. I don't know of a single Youth Pastor or youth ministry that has not been affected by the global pandemic.
No matter where you are in the country, school is beginning for your students. It might not be what we are used to, but it is happening. Online school is starting. Traditional school is starting. A hybrid model is starting. No matter what, school is on its way!
Back to school usually means a jumpstart in your youth ministry. This year will be no exception.
This training article is to help you pull off a fantastic parent meeting to begin the school year.
The vast majority of our communication with parents is about information or data. Dates, logistics, drop off and pick up points. And while these things are incredibly important, we'd like to challenge you today also to inspire.
INSPIRE, DON'T JUST INFORM
Paint a picture of what the Lord has given you for your students and your ministry. While parents gather online for this meeting or in the room, inspire them for what your youth ministry is bringing to the table.
Parent meetings are a great place to shine. Paint a picture for parents of where you want their children to go spiritually during the school year—the depth of their interactions with the Lord and with each other in your ministry.
With so much uncertainty, I understand giving dates in the season could be difficult. But I challenge you to do just that. Make sure your summer camp dates are communicated now. Your mission trips, your retreats, lock-ins, any special focuses. Make sure to get those on the calendar now.
There's nothing like a parent or student communicating with you after the fact they didn't know something was happening. Make sure to get your dates out in this meeting. I would also add a caveat this year: put an asterisk next to any conversation about dates with the disclaimer; "these could change at any moment." Your parents will be understanding, especially if you communicate early and often.
During this parent meeting, it's a good time to ask each parent the primary way they would like to receive information from you and the ministry.
You could ask them to fill out a card with the preferred method of communication. I promise you if you're just communicating on one medium, you are missing many parents. Don't assume that because it was listed in the church bulletin or on the church website, the parents know about it.
You can use text messages, email, social media, postcards, verbal announcements, and so much more. Ask them again, which is the best way they would like to be communicated with, then honor that communication style.
Be sure to have fun at your parent meeting.
Even if your parent meeting is online this year, make sure there's an element of fun. You play games in your youth ministry because it allows your students to interact with each other and become environmentally comfortable so they can become theologically aware. The same is true with parents. They like to have fun, interact with one another, and have some healthy competition is never a bad thing. So be sure to schedule some fun.
Highlight your parents. Be sure to include parent testimonials. Include time for a veteran and a rookie parent to share their struggles and celebrations.
How often have you communicated with students over and over only to have a student get up and to share a testimony that says the same thing you did, and then all of a sudden, your students get it? It's the same with adults. They expect great things from you. But when there is authority given because of a testimony of a parent that is called #winning.
THANKS FOR WHAT YOU DO
What you do week in and week out matters in student ministry. Thank you so much for loving God and liking students. I know the school year is going to be a little different than the others. But you're calling is essential. Your mission is great.
If there's anything that we can do here at YM360 to serve you or your ministry, please let us know.
Enjoy your first parent meeting this school year!
Andy and Jake talk about this in more depth in the video below!
Or listen on the go with our podcast!
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